The Ontological Argument

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- An ontological argument aims to prove the existence of God

- Anselm was an 11th Century Benedictine Monk and Archbishop of Canterbury

Anselm's Ontological Argument

- "that than which nothing greater can be conceived"

- Even an atheist can define God as even the suggestion that there's no God requires the concept of God

- Something that really exists is bound to be greater than something that just exists in thought

- If, by Anselm's definition, there is no being greater than God, He must exist in reality as well as in thought, because if God just existed in thought, we would be able to think of something greater as it would exist in reality

Gaunilo's Criticism

- "Would this argument not also prove the existence of anything 'perfect'?"

- Someone proposes the most perfect island

- Since it is perfect, Gaunilo argued that Anselm was saying that it must exist

- Since part of the perfection Anselm ws arguing about included existence, the island must exist, otherwise even the most grottiest island would be better than the imaginary one





Anselm's Response

- Anselm wasn't arguing about temporal, contingent things such as the island rooted in time and space, but of "the greatest thing that can be conceived"


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